Patricia Cruz Is Stepping Down as Artistic Director of Harlem Stage | Playbill

Industry News Patricia Cruz Is Stepping Down as Artistic Director of Harlem Stage

The move will cap a 25-year tenure with the NYC institution.

Patricia Cruz Paula Lobo

Longtime Harlem Stage Artistic Director Patricia Cruz will step down from the role as of July 1, capping a 25-year tenure with the NYC institution. Cruz will continue to work with the company in an advisory role, and her successor is set to be named at the company's 40th anniversary gala June 3.

Over Cruz's time with the theatre, she led a $26 million fundraising campaign for the restoration of the 134-year-old Gatehouse into the company's current building, which houses both a state-of-the-art theatre and the theatre's offices. That process, which was completed in 2006, was accompanied by the rechristening of the company, formerly known as Aaron Davis Hall, Inc.

Artists Cruz brought to the company include Kyle Abraham, Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah (formerly Christian Scott), Ambrose Akinmusire, Camille A. Brown, Ronald K. Brown, nora chipaumire, Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité, Robert Glasper, Roger Guenveur Smith, Carl Hancock Rux, Craig Harris, Nona Hendryx, Vijay Iyer, José James, Bill T. Jones, Tamar-kali, Mike Ladd, Tania León, Abbey Lincoln, Jason Moran, Meshell Ndegeocello, Queen Esther, Eddie Palmieri, Max Roach, Sonia Sanchez, Stew, Sekou Sundiata, Cecil Taylor, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar/Urban Bush Women, Cassandra Wilson, and Maimouna Youssef aka Mumu Fresh, among many others.

"From the moment I was recruited from the Studio Museum to join Harlem Stage, then known as Aaron Davis Hall, it was an immediate homecoming," reflects Cruz in a statement. "Going home to build a home to become the Harlem Stage Gatehouse—a sacred space from which clean water flowed in the late 19th century into a theatre from which art and culture flows in the 21st century. Art has always been political—appeasing or thanking the Gods, the church, criticizing (frequently slyly) the authorities, the oppressors. To combat racism, injustice, and inequities with art; to understand and reveal the visionary intentions of underrecognized Black artists and artists of color is not a career, it has been a calling and how grateful I am to have been called."

"At a time when Black women in leadership roles are under attack, Pat Cruz has been a beacon of strength and resistance," adds Board President Courtney F. Lee-Mitchell. "She’s led Harlem Stage successfully, and fearlessly, through pivotal moments for more than two decades. Pivotal moments like September 11, 2001, the financial crisis of 2009, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd. Her strength and resistance are exemplified in her tireless fight for equity in the arts. Arts organizations of color are consistently underfunded yet, in spite of this, Harlem Stage continues to be a place where the talent and voices of artists of color are amplified. We are grateful for her leadership and excited for the next phase of Pat Cruz."

Today’s Most Popular News:

Blocking belongs
on the stage,
not on websites.

Our website is made possible by
displaying online advertisements to our visitors.

Please consider supporting us by
whitelisting with your ad blocker.
Thank you!